The attending physician's opinion is not a valid reason for absence in the presence of contradictory medical evidence

Release date: March 5, 2013

A lineman challenged his loss of seniority and dismissal. The employer decided to terminate the latter’s employment after he refused to perform the work assigned to him due to permanent functional limitations preventing him from doing his regular job. In his decision, the employer relied on the opinions of several experts who deemed the employee fit to perform the assigned tasks. The union argued that the employee had a valid reason for absence, i.e. the opinion of his attending physician. In light of arbitral jurisprudence where the general approach is one that does not give primacy to an attending physician’s opinion and that does not hold the submission of a medical certificate as a valid reason for being absent from work, particularly when the employer refers to medical expertise, the arbitrator upheld the dismissal.

Syndicat des employées et employés de métiers d’Hydro-Québec, Local 1500, SCFP v. Hydro-Québec (J. Boisvert), DTE 2011T-750 (T.A.) Me André Rousseau

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